How Restaurants and Bars Can Be Compliant With Contact Tracing

Management 8 minute read 11th October 2020

The UK government is tightening its Test and Trace rules by making it compulsory for pubs and restaurants in England to take customer details.

Contact Tracing has also been implemented in other countries such as the US, Germany, Australia and in Scotland, where they have recently launched a COVID-19 contact tracing app in conjunction with Apple and Google.

Here’s how some countries are dealing with contact tracing:

  • The UK. At the time of writing, the UK has announced significant changes to contact tracing, which we’ll detail in a moment, but which essentially make it law for many businesses - particularly in hospitality.
  • United States. The CDC has published comprehensive, regularly updated guidance on contact tracing. However, there have been widespread reports of the process simply not working, with too much emphasis placed on contact tracing apps rather than the approach adopted by hospitality businesses in other countries. There’s no clear route ahead, and no obvious indication of whether or not it’ll become law like it is in the UK; at the moment, contact tracing in the US relies solely on proactive participation.
  • Australia. Bars, restaurants and gyms across Australia are now required to collect contract tracing data, but there has been concern voiced about data security and accuracy due to the rudimentary, manual collection methods that have been adopted.
  • Germany. Widely regarded as one of the best models for contact tracing, Germany’s approach reportedly helped them out of lockdown faster than other countries, and is still in place today.
  • South Korea. Worthy of mention simply because it is one of the few countries to have avoided using any form of app for contact tracing. Instead, mobile phone location data and credit card records have widely been used to trace transmissions.

These fast-changing rules may be causing you come concern and confusion if you’re an operator in the hospitality industry, which is why we’d like to clear it all up for you!

What’s changing in the UK?

uk test and trace

From 18th September 2020, it will be mandatory for certain businesses in the UK to collect NHS Test and Trace data from customers. Until now, it has simply been at the discretion of the venue.

The data collected must be held for 21 days, and applies almost specifically to hospitality businesses.

At the time of writing, it isn’t clear what the penalties will be for breaches of the rule or non-compliance, but the Government’s latest guidance update clearly states that ‘egregious breaches’ will be enforced.

What data needs to be collected?

test and trace what data needs to be collected

Contact tracing refers to both customer and staff personal data.

Thankfully, you’ll be glad to hear that the amount of data you need to collect is relatively limited and shouldn’t cause too much concern among those whom are asked to provide it.

Customers and visitors In most countries and regions, the following data must be collected as part of contact tracing for all customers and visitors to your venue:

  • the name of the customer or visitor (if there’s more than one person, you can record the name of the ‘lead’ member, along with the number of people in the group)
  • telephone number for each customer (or the lead member)
  • date of visit
  • arrival time
  • departure time (where possible)
  • name of assigned member of staff if the customer will interact with just one specific team member

Staff You’ll need to collect the following information about staff:

  • names of all staff who work at the venue
  • telephone numbers for each member of staff
  • dates and times staff members are at work.

How to collect contact tracing data

restaurant contact tracing process

Collecting contact tracing data should be easy for both your business and its customers.

Creating a frictionless experience is key to remaining compliant and ensuring you’re obtaining the information your government needs in the fight against COVID-19.

There are some rudimentary methods you can employ such as a signing-in book or homemade spreadsheet, but these are cumbersome, unreliable and easily lost.

Alternatively, why not use our free contact tracing spreadsheet, which already has everything you need to get started?

If you want to go one step further, you can actually combine your WiFi network login with contact tracing data collection. By using a system like a Plug & Play Beambox, guests can effortlessly log onto your WiFi via a QR code. This prompts them to enter their contact information which is subsequently stored in a secure database.

If you ever receive a request from the government for contact tracing data, you can then simply export what’s required, instantly.

What’s the purpose of maintaining these records?

Contact Tracing is designed to help the government identify people who may have been exposed to coronavirus.

The goal at the moment is to contain outbreaks of the virus early in order to prevent further national lockdowns. Hospitality businesses are most likely to serve large numbers of customers at the moment, making their role in contact tracing extremely important.

By collecting this data, you’ll be doing your bit to help the government contain the spread of COVID-19. But you can also play a big role in helping your customers and staff understand the importance of contact tracing.

The data itself must only be stored for contact tracing, unless you make it abundantly clear that you wish to use it for marketing purposes. If that’s the case, you need to follow GDPR guidelines and provide the option to opt out of such communications (and that must be the default option).

If your government contacts you and asks for contact tracing data, you’ll be obliged to provide it, which is why quick access is absolutely key.

We hope this guide has cleared up and questions you may have had about contact tracing. We’ll be keeping a close eye on developments across the world, so be sure to sign up for updates from Town Square!

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